AARP: Older Black adults feeling more confident about future finances

A new AARP survey outlines how Black adults feel more confident about retirement finances but remain anxious about aging in place

An increasing number of Black adults at or over the age of 45 feel more confident about their financial futures and retirement, according to the results of a new AARP survey.

“To Black adults 45+, there are many important issues as they grow older, from remaining independent to their health and well-being to how they’ll finance their retirement,” the survey results state.” “Black adults 45+ look to the future with some concern, but also optimism, worried about affording prescription drugs, but more confident they’ll be able to live comfortably in the future.”

A majority of survey respondents said the pandemic and racism have negatively impacted their well-being. However, over the past few years, optimism regarding retirement and living in old age has steadily increased, according to the results of the survey.

“In the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, only one-third (33%) of Black adults 45+ felt their financial situation was going to improve within a year,” the survey results state. “This changed in 2021, when two in five (44%) were optimistic about their future finances, a trend which held in 2022 (41%). Similarly, confidence that their money will allow them to live comfortably throughout their retirement years has slowly increased over the past three survey waves.”

Confidence rates regarding financial improvement were 32% in 2020, according to the report, but grew to 37% in 2021 and 41% in 2022.

Only 5% of survey respondents ages 65+ said they plan to work full-time to create income as they grow older, but 40% of those between the ages of 45 and 49, and 35% of those 50-64, said they will work full-time as they get older.

In addition, being able to age in place is a concern, the results note.

“Being able to get around independently, staying in their own home, having affordable housing, and having high-quality long-term care in their communities as they get older are all important issues to Black adults 45+,” the survey results state. “Thus, it is not surprising to see concerns around what they’ll be able to continue doing as they grow older.”

Additionally, 70% of respondents in 2022 said they are concerned about being able to afford to remain in their home as they age, which marks “a significant increase from 2020,” when 58% of respondents expressed the same concern.

Reverse mortgage industry leaders have recently aimed to increase diversity within the customer base and the industry itself. According to a research brief from the Urban Institute, Black borrowers have more difficulty being approved for a reverse mortgage, and having a more diverse pool of originators could help with this issue.

The “Vital Voices” AARP survey was conducted with 594 Black adults aged 45 or older in October 2022 and has been conducted every year since 2019.

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